V is for Vivian Vande Velde and Rumplestiltskin

Vivian Vande Velde writes mostly YA literature, mostly of the fantasy variety. One of my favorite stories is her Rumplestiltskin tale, "Straw Into Gold" which I originally read in Tales from the Brothers Grimm and Sisters Weird.  Vande Velde later compiled this and other stories all based around Rumplestiltskin into The Rumplestiltskin Problem (she created a similar collection around the tale of Little Red Riding Hood: Cloaked in Red). When I wrote Tales of a Quest, I based it loosely on Vande Velde's approach.

Although Tales of the Quest includes linking character commentary and Vande Velde's short story collection does not, she does begin the slim tome with an explanation of all that is wrong with the original tale: Why didn't the miller use his daughter to produce gold for him? Why would the daughter want to marry a king who threatened to kill her? Okay, maybe she had no choice. But why not ask Rumplestiltskin for some other type of help?

When I went to write my own Rumplestiltskin tale, originally published in Space & Time magazine, republished in Tales of the Quest, I made Rumplestiltskin a threat--it's one of my few horror stories. I also tried to bring up the economic problem of throwing too much gold at a problem (see below): inflation, anyone?

We lovers of fantasy love to play around with fantasy--I think writers are always drawn, to an extent, to world and stories that could, possibly, be manipulated for their own ends: I'll sit here and carefully unravel and reweave my little bit of the tale: no, no, I'm not in the way; keep doing your thing.

1 comment:

FreeLiveFree said...

I always took it for granted Rumpelstiltskin was a threat. Horror stories about him seem not to uncommon. The first chapter of The Croning by Laird Barron is a retelling of the tale. In the comic book, The Goon, (about a gangster fighting zombies only even weirder than it sounds) one of the characters turns out to be Rumpelstiltskin.